Redbirds pick up their third win of the year Saturday night against Sparta

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT –  It was not one that would be saved for the archives, but a win is a win.  They all count the same in the win loss column.  It is no secret that I am starting to cover games from listening to radio broadcast and especially video streaming.  My good friend Rick Westemeyer said it just did not have any flow to it.   I could tell by listening to it.

It was back to back nights without leading scorer C.J. Johnson who is out with a knee injury and Cole Levanti who is out with an ankle sprain.  Levanti told me today he is day to day.

The Redbirds improved to 3-10 on the season with a 55-50 win over Sparta.

Kyle Hammers (23) on the wing and Lucas Wolfe (3) at the top of the key for the Redbirds Saturday night. (Thank you Connie Siveking for the pics.)

The Redbirds raced out to at 12-7 lead with all twelve points coming from behind the arc, with Lucas Wolfe having two, Kyle Hammers one, and Keagan Thrash one.  They ended up with seven threes on the night.

West Frankfort struggled from the free throw line in the in the second quarter and the Bulldogs took a 16-15 lead at one point.  The Redbirds get buckets form Hammers and Thrash in the closing seconds to posses a 22-18 halftime lead.

The Redbirds go on a tear in the third quarter as Wolfe bombs another three as the Redbirds score 13 unanswered points.  Sophomore Gavin Gaylor hits a three and has a bucket in this run for all five of his points on the night. The Redbrids were up 39-23, and were on the verge of blowing it wide open.  A late Sparta rally and it is 41-30 after three.

Sparta makes it interesting toward the end, and could not cut the deficit less than five as the final was 55-50.

Redbird Center Bradlee Croslin on the baseline in Saturday night’s win. Croslin had nine points on the night.

Lucas Wolfe led the Redbirds with 15 on the night, followed by Kyle Hammers 13, and Keagan Thrash was the third for West Frankfort in double figures with 11.

Deon Clark had a game high 22 points for Sparta as Timberland Lucas added 12.

West Frankfort improved to 3-10 on the season.  They have the tough task in going to Memorial Gym to face the Murphysboro Red Devils tomorrow night, before a girls/boys DH at home with the Massac County Patriots on Friday night.  It pains me to say that, but that is weather permitting on Friday.

Sparta fell to 4-11 on the season.  They host the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats on Friday (weather permitting.)

Box Score

WEST FRANKFORT (55)  Wolfe 1 3 4-6 15. Hammers 4 1 2-4 13, Thrash 2 2 1-2 11, Croslin 4 0 1-2 9, Gaylor 1 1 0-1 5,  B. Russell 0 0 2-2 2

SPARTA (50)  Clark 5 3 2-3 21, Lucas  5 0 2-5 12, Boston 4 0 1-3 9, Anderson 1 1 0-0 5, Stefani 0 1 0-0 3

Score By Quarters

WEST FRANKFORT (3-10)    12 – 10 – 19 – 14  –   55

SPARTA (4-11)    7 – 11 – 12 – 20  –  50



By Steve Dunford

After coming off their first two wins of the season in the Eldorado Holiday Tournament, the West Frankfort Redbirds will hit the road to face the Herrin Tigers this evening, and will play the Sparta Bulldogs at home tomorrow night.

West Frankfort had wins over Fairfield and Carmi, and lost to Eldorado and Anna-Jonesboro at the EHT.

Herrin went 3-1 in the tournament winning the consolation bracket as they lost to Carmi in the first round. They beat Fairfield, NCOE and Edwards County.

The Redbirds come into tonight’s contest without the services of C.J. Johnson and Cole Levanti who will be out at least till the Midwinter Classic injured.

I asked coach Kevin Toney what they could expect out of the Tigers tonight He said they are quick, they shoot the ball well, the have a deep bench and coach Seiger Shurtz knows how to use it well.

Not having their leading scorer in Johnson will hurt the Redbirds tonight. Keagan Thrash and Bradlee Croslin took their game to the next level down at Eldorado.

One thing the Redbirds have is a deep bench. Sophomores Gavin Gaylor and Josh Melvin gave Kevin Toney some valuable minutes in the EHT.

If the Redbirds had Johnson in there, I would say they would be the favorites on the road.

Wins over Edwards County and Norris City does not impress me that much. Watching Herrin on film in the EHT, even missing their leading scorer and first guard off the bench, I would not be one bit surprised if the Redbirds leave Williamson County with their third W of the year.

Under adversity, Kyle Hammers and Lucas Wolfe always seems to step up.

For those of you making the trip to Memorial Gym tonight, I want you to do a little “scouting” for me. I want you to tell me if Tim Glodich is on the sidelines.

When I asked him about Sparta, KT said he knew absolutely nothing about them, and Tim Glodich is going to scout them at Carterville tonight.

I told him that was hard to believe, but I took it hook line and sinker.

When someone has several yellow legal pads about every team in Southern Illinois, I am finding that hard to believe.  He can be using his dry, warped, sense of humor, and could be “lying through his teeth”.  I know he had to make it down to Murphy once or twice to watch them.  I am also sure that Randy Smithpeters gave him some film when Harrisburg played them.

Sparta is 4-10 on the season beating Valmeyer and Dupo and losing to Lebanon in the Freeburg-Coulmbia tournament. For what I understand about it, the Bulldogs were not in the tournament.

I will have a yellow legal pad ready to see if there are any Tim Glodich sightings at Herrin tonight. If the Lord is willing, I will see you at Max Morris gym tomorrow night.

Cali Wright drops 22 as the Lady Redbirds win in OT

By Steve Dunford

WEST FRANKFORT –  Cali Wright scores a game high 22 points as the West Frankfort Lady Redbirds defeat the Eldorado Lady Eagles 66-63 in overtime last night at Max Morris Gym.

Madi Carpenter was the second Lady Redbird in double figures is 16, Megan Beery added 13 on the night.

Munds had 19, Mitchell 13 and Stafford 11 for the Lady Eagles.

The Lady Redbirds improve to (5-9) on the season.  They will host the Meridian Lady Bobcats Tuesday night in a 6:00 p.m. start.

Lady Redbird Coach Matt Hampleman had this to say about last night’s win.    “We played well and scored when we needed too. Eldorado is a pretty scrappy team that shoots the ball well.” 

Eldorado falls to 6-7.

WEST FRANKFORT BOX SCORE (66)  Wright 5 12-16 22, Carpenter 3 10-10 16, Berry  2 8-14 13,  Peavey 3 2-2 8, McLaren 2 0-0 4

Line Score

WEST FRANKFORT (5-9)    21 – 12 – 10 -12 –  66

ELDORADO (6-7)    10 – 13 – 17 – 15 – 8 – 63




Joe and Wilma Patton, always on the west side of Max Morris Gym

By Steve Dunford 

The Patton’s have been married 72 years and are long time High School basketball fans.

WEST FRANKFORT –  When I am at Max Morris Gym to cover the Redbirds I can always count on Joe and Wilma Patton to be there.

Both are Gallatin County natives.  Joe answered the call to preach in his thirties, and still preaches on occasion.  He was a long time pastor of the first Baptist church in Ridgway.

Joe and Wilma attend church where I do at Calvary Baptist Church in West Frankfort.  One of his closest friends is Ridgway and later Gallatin County coaching legend Bob Dallas.  At church on Chirstmas Eve, he told me he wishes it wasn’t so cold or he would like to go a day or two to the Eldroado Holiday Tournament.

I pick his mind about several things, mainly about the bible and high school basketball at the past.  You can nearly find him each afternoon spreading his wisdom at Dixie Cream, which he refers to as “the donut shop.”

The Patton’s have been married 72 years.   I did not know this until here recently but Wilma robbed the cradle, as she is 89 and Joe is 87.

They have lived in West Frankfort eight years.  They have sat in those same seats to watch four great-grandsons go though the Redbird program.  They have watched Trenton and Keegan Easley wear the red and grey.  They watched Hunter and now C.J Johnson play for the Redbirds.

When the Redbirds are on the road, they listen to Rick Westmeyer and Michael Marlo bring the action on WFRX.

If the Lord is willing, I hope to see them at Max Morris Gym on Saturday nigh, if not in Church on Sunday.


Saturday, January 13

3:30 Sesser-Valier-Waltonville  vs. Herrin

5:00 Pinckneyville vs. West Frankfort

Tuesday, January 16

5:30 Herrin vs. Pinckneyville

7:00 West Frankfort vs. Sesser-Valier-Waltonville

Thursday, January 18

5:30 Pinckneyville vs. Sesser-Valier-Waltonville

7:00 Herrin vs. West Frankfort

Tie Breakers

1st tie breaker is the head-to-head play within your division 2nd tie breaker is each team’s free throw percentage.

The 30-point mercy rule will be in effect during the fourth quarter.

Mid Winter Classic Pairings released




Saturday, January 13 6:30 Cairo vs. Marion

Monday, January 15

5:30 Carterville vs. Herrin

7:00 Eldorado vs. Anna-Jonesboro

8:30 West Frankfort vs. Christopher

Tuesday, January 16

8:30 Christopher vs. Eldorado

Wednesday, January 17

5:30 Herrin vs. Cairo

7:00 West Frankfort vs. Anna-Jonesboro

8:30 Carterville vs. Marion

Thursday, January 18

18 8:30 Cairo vs. Carterville

Friday, January 19

5:30 Anna-Jonesboro vs. Christopher

7:00 West Frankfort vs. Eldorado

8:30 Herrin vs. Marion

Saturday, January 20 Finals

3:30 4th Place Teams from Each Pool Play for 7th & 8th Place Overall

5:00 3rd Place Teams from Each Pool Play for 5th & 6th Place Overall

6:30 2nd Place Teams from Each Pool Play for 3rd & 4th Place Overall

8:00 1st Place Teams from Each Pool Play for 1st & 2nd Place Overall

Tie Breakers 1st tie breaker is the head-to-head play within your division 2nd tie breaker is each team’s free throw percentage.

The 30-point mercy rule will be in effect during the fourth quarter.

Redbirds pick up first two wins at the EHT finish fourth

By Steve Dunford 

ELDORADO – The West Frankfort Redbirds pick up their first two wins of the season at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament last weekend.

The first three opponents were out of the Black Diamond East, and they beat two of them in the first round.

C.J Johnson and Keagan Thrash, all tournament team recipients at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament

On Thursday, they defeated the Fairfield Mules, 60-49 for their first win of the season.  When I was talking to Coach Kevin Toney before the tournament, he said that Fairfield has some length on the inside and so do we.”  

Before the tournament started, Coach Toney said,  “We can play with anyone on the bottom side of the bracket.  We proved we could play with Eldorado.” 

I don’t know what the official stats were, but on most possessions the Mules had very few offensive rebounds.

Both teams were knotted up at 32 going into the fourth quarter.  Coach Toney said that assistant Mike Karoski made the call of going into a 1-2-2 half court trap.  The Redbirds outscored the Mules 26-19 in the final frame to get rid of the goose egg out of the win column.

C.J Johnson had a game high 19 for the Redbirds, 13 of those came in the fourth quarter.  Bradlee Croslin added 16, Kyle Hammers 9. Cole Levanti 7, and Lucas Wolfe 1.

Kobi Dagg had 15 to lead Fairfield and

One of the things that I talked with Coach Toney about was they play of Levanti off the bench.  He said, “He brought some energy, he has the desire to play really well, and has no fear of driving to the bucket drawing fouls.”

Going into the Carmi game, coach Toney said the key would be to shut down Travis Black and Bryce Northcot.  Whether it was Keagan Thrash or Bradlee Croslin on Black, he was held to seven points.  Northcot was held to four.

The Redbirds raced out to a 26-14 halftime lead.  They held off an early fourth quarter rally, as they picked up a 53-36 victory on the afternoon.

The Redbirds were a perfect 10/10 at the free throw line down the stretch.  C.J Johnson had 20 points to to lead the Redbirds, Keagan Thrash 10, Gavin Gaylor six, Lucas Wolfe five, Bradlee Croslin six, and Cole Levanti five.

The Redbirds made a valiant comeback against state ranked Eldorado, but it fell short. 64-55.  I posted about it after the game on Saturday.

The Redbirds were without Cole LeVanti and CJ Johnson for most of the nightcap as they fell to Anna-Jonesboro 71-55.  The Redbirds shot 60% from the field in the first half and the Wildcats over 70%

Jake Parr had 22 of his game high 28 for A-J in the first half.  Both coaches subbed liberally trying to keep fresh legs in there as both teams made comebacks against the semi-final foes and the rallies fell short.

Kyle Hammers led West Frankfort with 12 points on the night, Keagan Thrash 10, Bradlee Croslin and Lucas Wolfe nine, Reece Woolard, Matt Reiger, and Jacob Russell added two points each for the Redbirds.





A Baseline View releases new rankings



The Sesser-Valier Red Devils are ranked fifth and the Christopher Bearcats sixth in the latest poll Class 1A released by Jack Bullock (ABV Jack) of the website

The Thompsonville Tigers crack the honorable mention slot in Class 1A, and  the West Frankfort Redbirds crack the 2A honorable mention slot.

Please click on the link below for the latest poll.

Eldorado Holiday Tournament Parings/Scoreboard

Game 19: 8:30 a.m.  Massac County 59  vs.  Union County KY 36  F (5th Place Bracket)

Game 20: 10 a.m.  Carmi-White County 51 Gallatin Co 34   (5th Place Bracket)

Game 21: 12 p.m.  Harrisburg 54 vs. Anna-Jonesboro 52 (semi-finals)

Game 22:  1:30 p.m.   Eldorado 64  West Frankfort 55 F (semi-finals) 

Game 23:  3:00 p.m.  Herrin 62   Edwards County  50 F (Consolation Championship)

Game 24:  6:00 p.m. Massac County 62  Carmi-White County  60  (5th Place)

Game 25:  7;30 p.m. Anna Jonesboro 42   vs West Frankfort  33 H  (3rd place)

Game 26:  9:00 p.m. Harrisburg  vs Eldorado (Championship)

Redbirds face the Fairfield Mules in the first round of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament

By Steve Dunford 

The West Frankfort Redbirds (0-7) face the Fairfield Mules (7-4), around 4:45 p.m., in a first round game of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament.

I spoke with Redbird coach Kevin Toney this morning about the Mules.  He said that, “Fairfield is a very disciplined team that does not beat themselves.  They do not gamble on the defensive end and run their offense well.” 

He first mentioned their point guard, Wyatt Gilbert. “He is skilled, can penetrate, can hit shots behind the perimeter, and runs the offense well.”   Gilbert’s running mate in the backcourt is 5′ 10″ Jamon Vaughn.

Coach Toney said they are big on the inside and “so are we.”  (referring to C.J. Johnson, Bradlee Croslin, and Keagan Thrash)

He mentioned Cobi Dagg who is 6′ 3″,  Jaden Lewis who is 6′ 4′ and Bryan Estes who is 6′ 5″.  Coach Toney said’ “He is a great jumper and aathlete in general.  He would make a great long jumper, triple jumper or a high jumper.”

Below is a couple links you could pick up this afternoon’s game.

McLeansboro Foxes Fans


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